Friday, May 20, 2011

Birdwatching Gear

Grey-streaked Flycatcher in the Alabang Country Club
     Do you need any special equipment to go birdwatching in the village? The short answer is: no, you don’t need any equipment at all. You can just go outside and look at the birds with your eyes. Sometimes, you don't even have to go outside at all! You can watch birds from your balcony, your bedroom window, or even from inside your car. However, there are some items that you can use that will make your experience more pleasant and fruitful.

    A pair of binoculars will allow you to appreciate the details of the bird's feathers. Birds come in an amazing variety of colors and patterns. There are birds with bars, spots, and stripes. Even the type of feathers in the bird varies -- from the small downy feathers around the eyes to the large, stiff flight feathers on the wings. Some birds even have bristles! The usual binoculars for birdwatching has a magnification of  8x42. In this example, the first number refers to the amount of magnification and The second number reeds to the amount of light that can enter the lens. There are many articles on the Internet on how to choose a good pair of binoculars. Any type of binoculars, even an inexpensive pair will do for a start.

    A field notebook and pen are useful items to have on hand when you go birdwatching. If you see a bird that you want to be able to identify, you can quickly jot down or even draw the details of the bird while it is still fresh in your mind. Then, later when you get home you can look up the bird online or in a guidebook. If you do this often enough, you will soon have nice personal records of the birds you have seen in the village. Later on, if you decide to join a formal organization like the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (, you can submit your birdwatching records to the club and they will become part of the official database of Philippine birds.

    A field guide is a book used by birdwatchers to identify birds. It shows photos or paintings of the birds, its diagnostic features, and descriptions of typical behavior and calls. There are two field guides of the birds of the Philippines that are still in print. "A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines" by Robert Kennedy and others is the definitive field guide of Philippine birds.  It is considered the "bible" of Philippine birdwatchers. The other book is "A Photographic Guide to Birds of the Philippines" by Tim Fisher and Nigel Hicks. This book covers 215 out of the 600+ Philippine birds. While it is convenient to have a book that can be carried around and referred to while out birdwatching, it is also possible to just get information from the Internet. You can see photographs of the birds found in Ayala Alabang at, under the section called "Birds by Location". You can also read more about birdwatching equipment in the section called “Equipment List”.

You can see more pictures of Grey-streaked Flycatchers on my website 
Tonji also wrote  about our birding gear and photography gear. With pictures!

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